Discover Gold: What's your experience?

ferntree

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Thought I'd post a summary of my reactions to my first Virgin Discover Gold experience - Business Class return HBA to MEL. Summary: Disappointing, but probably better value than Qantas.

Some of these points will no doubt seem picky to some, but when you're paying good $$$ for J I do think you're entitled to expect a certain level of service.

Priority boarding: Virgin seem to do this better than Qantas. Qantas has improved, but still rather hit and miss.

Lounges: Virgin doesn't have a lounge at Hobart - but then Qantas might as well not have one either, since instead of staying open all day, they now only open an hour before each Qantas flight and close again when it boards. They are cutting further and further on QF flights to/from Hobart (a grand total of four tomorrow, for example) , trying more and more to push you on to Jetstar. In Melbourne, I was impressed at the Virgin lounge layout - lots of semi-private "booths" rather than the Qantas big barn approach. I won't comment on the food because I understand Virgin are in a state of flux negotiaing a new catering contract.

On board experience. Virgin was hugely disappointing here. Where does all this talk about "Virgin service" come from? I wasn't addressed by name, and on the return flight wasn't even offered a welcome drink of water prior to take off. These are little touches that don't cost the company any $$ but make the customer feel valued. Honestly, I've (many times) had better and more personal service on Jetstar! The only positives were the comfortable seat, the elbow rooma and the leg room. I would put them on a par with Qantas.

Overall, a distinctly inferior product to Qantas, but considering the large price difference, better value. However, I'm inclined to think that for the price differential, Economy X starts to look rather attractive. I'll be trying that out next week when I hop up to BNE.
 
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serfty

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In Melbourne, I was impressed at the Virgin lounge layout - lots of semi-private "booths" rather than the Qantas big barn approach.
Thanks for the observations.

Note you were likely using the "Club" facility, built for VA Mk1's version of the Qantas Chairman's Lounges.
 

ferntree

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Thanks for the observations.

Note you were likely using the "Club" facility, built for VA Mk1's version of the Qantas Chairman's Lounges.
Yes, that is where the temp lounge is, thanks.
 
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Mattg

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I took advantage of the Discover Gold promo and have flown with Virgin a few times this month.

Honestly, Virgin's claim that "nobody can match our service" is laughable. I understand that Virgin ran this status match in December as a competitive response to the Qantas promo that was on at the time, but it really doesn't make sense to run a promotion that specifically encourages frequent flyers with your competitor to give your airline a try while you're still offering very reduced service and half the lounges were closed/also offering minimal service.

I was disappointed with almost every aspect of the VA experience, particularly the J service and lounges (not to mention, the VA lounge in my home port of CBR is still closed) and honestly, all this has done is reinforce why I prefer to fly Qantas.

If Virgin wanted to offer a status match, they should have waited until their in-flight service is back to normal and the lounges are actually open. This will probably happen in the next month or two.
 

Bagpuss

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In Melbourne, I was impressed at the Virgin lounge layout - lots of semi-private "booths" rather than the Qantas big barn approach. I won't comment on the food because I understand Virgin are in a state of flux negotiaing a new catering contract.
Virgin don't operate most lounges (if any now), they are operated by Spotless.
 

ferntree

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Virgin don't operate most lounges (if any now), they are operated by Spotless.
Makes no real difference to me who manages them ... The quality of the product is what is important. But thanks for the info anyway.
 
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